Saturday, April 15, 2006

The playoff push: 95 points or bust

UPDATED with Friday games. It's time to put 'the playoff push' to bed for its inaugural year. Check out the home of the calculator for a more precise analysis of team's chances to lock up the various playoff seedings as we come down to the wire.

Western Conference (95 points required)
  1. Detroit - Qualified
  2. Dallas - Qualified
  3. Calgary - Qualified
  4. Nashville - Qualified
  5. Anaheim - Qualified
  6. San Jose - Qualified
  7. Colorado - Qualified
  8. Edmonton - Qualified
  9. Vancouver - Eliminated (max 92)
  10. Los Angeles - Eliminated (max 91)
  11. Minnesota - Eliminated (max 85)
  12. Phoenix - Eliminated (max 83)
  13. Columbus - Eliminated (max 76)
  14. Chicago - Eliminated (max 67)
  15. St. Louis - Eliminated (max 61)
Eastern Conference (90 points required)
  1. Ottawa - Qualified
  2. Carolina - Qualified
  3. Buffalo - Qualified
  4. N.Y. Rangers - Qualified
  5. New Jersey - Qualified
  6. Philadelphia - Qualified
  7. Montreal - Qualified
  8. Tampa Bay - Qualified

  9. Atlanta - 1-1-1
  10. Toronto - 2-1-0
  11. Florida - Eliminated (max 86)
  12. N.Y. Islanders - Eliminated (max 82)
  13. Boston - Eliminated (max 76)
  14. Washington - Eliminated (max 70)
  15. Pittsburgh - Eliminated (max 61)



At 4:42 p.m., March 05, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I just posted some final standings predictions which are based on each teams points so far and strength of schedule they played to get those points and how many games they have left and the difficulty of their remaining schedule. The predictions are Tampa and Montreal finishing tied for 7th/8th in the east with 92 points while in the west Edmonton and Los Angeles are tied for 7th/8th with 95 points. Your 96 and 94 point requirements probably aren't that far off.

I've also got Vancouver finishing with 97 points so they are pretty close to being a playoff bubble team. I have Minnesota falling to 12th spot in the west 13 points out of a playoff spot as they have just 20 games left and the second most difficult schedule (to Vancouver) of any team.

At 10:41 a.m., March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear that the Leafs should begin their fire sale now. The odds of them going 17-4, or even getting lucky and snaring the last spot by going 15-6, are remote at best.

The problem is, of course, that Ferguson's job security rests on the Leafs making the playoffs, not beginning a rebuilding project that someone else will almost certainly be tasked to finish.

At 3:08 a.m., March 07, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

It seems like 94 points in the east might be a little high. It is going to take Montreal and Tampa going 5 games above .500 to get to 94 points. But Montreal and Tampa are just 7 games above .500 in 60 and 61 games respectively. My guess is 90-92 points might get you in the playoffs in the east.

At 12:41 p.m., March 07, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

In the simulations I run, the average 8th place team in East has had 89 points, the average 8th place team in the West has had 93. I'm running it again tonight, so I'll see how that's changed.

At 3:49 p.m., March 07, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It might be just a little too high in the East (one or two points), but I believe the teams on the cusp are going to have better records as they battle for the spots (as is generally the case). I also wanted to pick a number that would 'guarantee' a spot.

At 8:33 p.m., March 07, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

That said, if both Montreal and Tampa Bay lose tonight, I think I can drop that number down to 93. Still, it's not going to help teams like Toronto and Boston all that much unless they start going on huge runs.

At 11:56 a.m., March 08, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Toronto has 2 games against Montreal. If they win those 2 games the gap is down to 2. Could Toronto make up 2 point games in the other 19 games? Sure. It could easily happen. It isn't so much having to win x number of games, it is a matter of winning the right games.

And watch out for the Islanders. They have an easy schedule including 4 games against Pittsburgh. They also play the teams they are chasing including 3 against Toronto, 2 against Montreal and Atlanta and 1 against Tampa.

At 2:46 p.m., March 13, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I'm currently projecting Tampa to finish 8th in the east with 89 points and Vancouver 8th in the west with 94 points. Edmonton is projecting to 9th with 92 points and Boston to 13th with 75 points, 4 back of 12th place Florida.

At 6:18 p.m., March 13, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I find it hard to believe that the teams battling for those final playoff spots are merely going to maintain their paces — although I don't have anything empirical to back that up. It seems to me that, as things get tight in the final 10 games, the teams in the dogfight will all start playing well.

At the very least, 95 points in the West and 92 in the East should definitely be enough to 'guarantee' you get in. That's the magic number I'm trying to figure out.

At 6:58 p.m., March 13, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

The way Tampa is playing they might be happy getting back to their season average pace. Edmonton has lost 4 in a row and Vancouver has lost 4 of 5. Will these teams play better than they have for most of the year? The same? Or will they continue their poor play? Will the Toronto of December show up or the Toronto of January/February show up? Your guess is as good as mine but the odds are that they will probably play about the same.

At 12:53 a.m., March 16, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

It strikes me that the tables you are updating are useful to show how much more efoort a team has to show before they make the playoffs. It gives a sense of the magnitude of the task, not a predictor of final performance.

So as of tonight, March 15, Tampa needs to step it up a little, Montreal has some breathing room and the Leaf's chances are fading. Only an outstanding turnaround will save their season now.

At 2:05 a.m., March 16, 2006, Blogger Grampapinhead said...

I like your system. There is no way to pin req. points down without a crystal ball that tells you how many 3 point games will be played within the next 17. As long as you update it regularly, it is a very clear picture.

At 2:49 p.m., March 16, 2006, Anonymous nick said...

Unrelated comment, but as to the Canucks right now, I'm surprised no bloggers are latching onto the fact that Henrik Sedin just passed Naslund in overall team scoring.. and that the Canucks 2nd line is now officially their #1 line productivity-wise. :o

At 2:46 p.m., March 20, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I think that the Eastern Conference requirement might need to be ratcheted down again. Even if Atlanta plays .600 (9-6) hockey the rest of the way against an average looking schedule, Montreal only needs to go 9-7, against a really easy schedule

At 3:22 p.m., March 21, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You're right. After tonight, I'll probably move it down another point. 90 seems likely to get teams into the playoffs, but given some easy schedules for some teams, we could see someone go on a 10-2 run.

At 5:58 p.m., March 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James, I love your list but it seems that San jose actually needs to go 9-6-1 to reach that plateau. San Jose sits with 16 games left and 76 points, which means they need to earn 19 points to hit 95. As you can see they need to win 9 games for 18 points and get an overtime loss for the other point, for a total of 19.

At 6:02 p.m., March 21, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Thanks for the note — it's time for an audit!

At 9:57 p.m., March 21, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

James, I agree that one of those teams could go on a run. In fact, I think it's fairly likely. Perhaps we just have a definitional difference. I think that there's a pretty good chance that the eventual #8 playoff seed in the East will have 92 or 93 points; I just don't think it will be necessary. I'm thinking that when you say "91 points will be necessary to make the playoffs," it means that the #9 team will have 90 points.

I don't think that two teams will make that kind of run, and the #8 seed could make it with room to spare if they make it to 91 or 92.

At 9:18 a.m., March 26, 2006, Blogger John said...

Flyers now have 90.

At 2:47 p.m., March 26, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Thanks for pointing out the Flyers mistake — I'm not sure how that happened.

At 5:53 p.m., March 28, 2006, Blogger Luke said...

Looking at the standings today (28 March), it seems entirely plausible that 9 Western teams could finish with 95 points -- I know a lot of them play each other, but in particular a 5-3-1 push by Vancouver doesn't seem like it would preclude the other 8 teams also making it (especially now that Edmonton and Vancouver have already finished their "mini-playoff").

Doesn't that suggest that the bar is in fact even higher in the West? 95 points *might* do it, but it also seems like it might not. Incredible, really!

At 5:56 p.m., March 28, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It's a good point. The really, really strong play from Anaheim and San Jose has made it unbelievably tight, and my guess is that it's going to come down to tiebreakers in at least a few of the spots. Will a team miss the playoffs with 95 points? That still seems unlikely, but, yeap, it definitely could happen.


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